Let’s talk data entry errors. Whether you’re taking notes or entering information into an Excel spreadsheet, there’s always room for human error — and, if neglected, it can easily cost your restoration business valuable time and money. With that in mind, here’s how to prevent data entry errors in your restoration business in 8 easy steps.
1. Embrace transparency
As a restoration contractor, you know the troubles of balancing the books with changing estimates, purchase orders, and labor hours. Handling all these numbers can get extremely tricky. Having a great accountant helps, of course, but it still takes only one misread timecard or purchase order to cause serious trouble and potentially cause some unwanted downtime.
Whenever you’re trying to reduce administrative errors, technology plays a significant role in the process, advises Forbes. Digital transformation promotes agility, and agility offers the benefit of reduced risk with greater transparency. The more transparent your data-entry process is, the more likely you will be able to find where any mishap occurred. One of the easiest ways to add transparency to your data entry process is to consistently add job notes to every work order.
When you add transparency, you increase project visibility, which will help you address mistakes from your team or the customer before it turns into a costly ordeal.
2. Get help getting organized
One of the biggest factors in preventing data entry errors is accepting that some people simply don’t have great organizational skills — and working to correct that factor with technology. Often, companies are not unorganized, so much as they fail to utilize a tracking system designed to help eliminate these types of errors.
If you’re working with paper forms for numerous insurance claims, for example, it’s easy to lose or misplace a critical piece of information. Digital folders and electronic filing are easy tools to ensure that never happens. Using a restoration software platform lets you enter, send, or receive claims documents, and know you have them safely organized.
We know that it’s challenging to go back and forth when you have multiple restoration projects going on at once. You might have to address construction updates on one project and get insurance approvals on another. As an alternative to working in an office and handling each job separately, tools like DASH allow you to manage multiple jobs through a single mobile device, so you never have to leave the worksite.
3. Consider moving to the cloud
With manual data entry, it can be easy to mix up figures when you’re constantly moving between different projects. When working in the cloud, you can rest assured that every new entry will be securely saved and logged accordingly. Then, you can see time-stamped logs that you’ve made throughout the day, so you know you’re completely up to date on your claims compliance. Plus, since it’s stored in the cloud rather than a single computer, you can access it from any device, anywhere you are.
4. Prioritize accuracy over speed
Working in the cloud could also help you reduce rushed work by letting you input data wherever you’re located. According to Inc.com, rushed work is bound to have errors. So, even if you’re confident in your current system, anything you can do to cut down rushed deadlines can help your business reduce the number of mistakes.
5. Understand that human error will happen
No matter how hard you try to prevent data-entry errors, you must realize you’re human, and there’s always the chance of mistakes. By accepting that reality and re-evaluating your processes accordingly, you’ll be able to focus more clearly on your job process.
And if you choose the right tool, this re-evaluation doesn’t have to be a tough job. DASH is a highly organized and easy-to-use system platform that allows you and everyone on your team to enter data more quickly and confidently. Everyone makes mistakes, but DASH can prevent you from making double-entries and other typical administrative errors with its cloud-based platform.
6. Train your team to value data
As important as it is for you to learn how to prevent data entry errors in your organization, it may be even more important for your employees to recognize the importance of data quality. Coordinators and your production team aren’t always aware of their impact on the company and how others use the data they oversee.
Your staff members also may not know about regulatory and compliance requirements for the restoration industry in general, let alone specific ones for your company. Mishandling a claim or customer information could result in data loss, cost your business time and money, or even worse, cause a significant security breach.
How can you meet this challenge? Develop a system for creating, modifying, and using data for your restoration business and document it. Then be sure to train all team members on the data-entry process. Keep it updated with changes based on on-the-ground usage and refer back to it when new staff is brought on board (or existing employees need a refresher).
Keeping up with training and work policy adherence can be particularly challenging in a virtual workplace environment. It helps to be open and available, even if it’s through a virtual connection. Talk to your team about how to prevent data entry errors. Regulatory compliance courses and restoration industry best practices online training can also help position your restoration company for success in a remote-work world.
7. Adopt a more flexible working environment
In the restoration industry, there’s no single ideal work environment. Your workplace likely changes regularly. However, everyone can agree that focus is critical to avoid mistakes. It is vital to provide flexibility in an ever-changing work environment that allows individuals to customize their own style and workplace — whether that’s at home, in an office, or the field.
Fortunately, with mobile technology and the cloud, it’s a lot easier to provide a flexible working environment than it was just a decade ago. And since the coronavirus pandemic, the virtual workplace has become commonplace. The more you can scale up your flexibility, and give your team the chance to work smartly, the better positioned you’ll be for the months and years to come.
8. Learn the real costs of errors
Do you really know the cost of human error to your restoration business? Are you adding up how much each of those simple mistakes ultimately cost — not just in terms of delays and downtime, but lost customers and revenue? If you haven’t yet crunched the numbers, you might be surprised to learn just how much you’re leaving on the table by not upgrading your technology.
When you know your data is being saved and processed as it gets entered, you will have a better view and understanding of your workflow. And the moment data becomes available through the DASH platform, you can make necessary changes to ensure that you’re working with the most current knowledge of the on-the-ground situation. And as G.I. Joe once taught us, “knowing is half the battle.”
Get more of the info you need to tackle the biggest challenges facing the restoration industry at the Connect Pulse, a virtual event series from Next Gear Solutions. And if you’re looking for more insight into how to prevent data entry errors — and the huge cost they represent — we’re standing by to help.